December 2012
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Dec 30, 2012

Speed skater Kodaira sweeps field to claim national crown

Nao Kodaira blew away the field for the second day in a row en route to winning her third consecutive title at the Speed Skating National Sprint Championships on Saturday. Kodaira won all four races in the all-around competition for a cumulative score of ...

| Dec 30, 2012

This year's highlights and lowlights

by Philip Brasor

Media figures of the year: The “Right Brothers” Conservatives supposedly made a comeback in 2012, but if you believe Japan’s social outlook is basically conservative to begin with, you have to wonder what they were coming back from. The country’s fiscal policy is anything ...

Dec 30, 2012

Abe, Putin agree to put peace treaty bid on fast track

Stepping up efforts to strengthen his ties with world leaders, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to accelerate work toward concluding a formal postwar peace treaty, a government official said. During a 20-minute phone conversation Friday, Abe and Putin ...

Hometown-bound travel rush peaks

Dec 30, 2012

Hometown-bound travel rush peaks

The rush of travelers returning to their hometowns for the New Year’s holidays peaked Saturday, with most shinkansen services and domestic flights fully booked throughout the day. There were no reserved seats available on any bullet trains on the Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Joetsu, Nagano ...

Pakistani Taliban is 'open to talks'

Dec 30, 2012

Pakistani Taliban is 'open to talks'

In a video released Friday, Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud said his organization could be open to talks with Islamabad, but poured scorn on the idea his men will give up their guns. Mehsud, who has a $5 million U.S. government bounty on his ...

Time for 2013 resolutions for bj-league

| Dec 30, 2012

Time for 2013 resolutions for bj-league

by Ed Odeven

It’s time to look ahead to 2013 as each of the bj-league’s 21 teams search for ways to improve. So here’s one columnist’s suggested New Year’s resolutions for all teams. The Ryukyu Golden Kings, league champions in 2011-12, are off to a brilliant start ...

Dec 30, 2012

Mainali: 15 years in jail equals ¥68 million

Govinda Prasad Mainali of Nepal, who was acquitted last month after wrongfully spending 15 years in jail for the 1997 murder of a Tokyo woman, is seeking some ¥68 million in compensation from the government for his time spent behind bars. Mainali, 46, who ...

Dec 30, 2012

Ex-England cricket captain Greig dies

Flamboyant former England cricket captain and television commentator Tony Greig died Saturday at the age of 66 from a heart attack as he battled lung cancer. The South African-born Greig had only recently been diagnosed with cancer, and suffered cardiac arrest at his Sydney ...

Dec 29, 2012

Toyota finds dodgy billing by ex-staff

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it has discovered inappropriate spending of about ¥300 million by former employees who were engaged in the development of new concept vehicles. Toyota said disciplinary measures have been taken and it is considering whether to file a criminal complaint ...

Dec 29, 2012

SMBC consumer unit eyes Tianjin

SMBC Consumer Finance Co. plans to set up a subsidiary in Tianjin to expand its business dealing in unsecured loans in China, sources said. The Tianjin unit, to be wholly owned by Promise (Hong Kong) Co., the lender’s subsidiary, will offer unsecured loans to ...

Dec 29, 2012

LCC rivals cause Skymark to pare routes from Kansai

Skymark Airlines said Friday it will probably close two domestic routes out of Kansai International Airport near Osaka at the end of March because of growing competition from no-frills carriers. One of the two routes links Kansai with Naha Airport in Okinawa, while the ...

Textile scholar advocates sustainable fashion

Dec 29, 2012

Textile scholar advocates sustainable fashion

by Kris Kosaka

Yoshiko Wada, textile artist and scholar, believes the word “sustainable” in foods and fashion shares the same philosophical taste. “Both are a holistic approach, about health, environment, and the community that supports it. We must recapture and rethink how we are going to sustain ...

Nikkei ends turbulent year at 21-month high

Dec 29, 2012

Nikkei ends turbulent year at 21-month high

Tokyo stocks rose for a fourth consecutive session Friday, allowing the Nikkei index to end the year at a 21-month high as expectations for aggressive monetary easing by new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continued to weaken the yen. The 225-issue benchmark average gained 72.20 ...

North castaways linked to weather, food strains

Dec 29, 2012

North castaways linked to weather, food strains

In the past several years, a few dozen empty boats thought to be of North Korean origin have washed ashore annually in prefectures facing the Sea of Japan, especially Niigata and Ishikawa, according to the coast guard. Although this year’s total is likely to ...

Dec 29, 2012

Research whaling fleet leaves port

A Japanese whaling ship and two other vessels left Shimonoseki on Friday morning to hunt whales for scientific research in the Antarctic Sea. The fleet will join the mother vessel Nisshin Maru in hunting up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and up to 50 ...

Industry titans join panel

Dec 29, 2012

Industry titans join panel

The government on Friday named Toshiba Corp. President Norio Sasaki, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. President Yoshimitsu Kobayashi and two economists as members of a key economic panel to be reinstated under the newly launched Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The four, including Motoshige ...

Dec 29, 2012

Diet will convene on Jan. 28

The new Liberal Democratic Party-led government is looking to convene the annual 150-day regular Diet session on Jan. 28, a senior LDP lawmaker said Friday. Tsutomu Sato, who serves as deputy head of the party’s Diet affairs committee, unveiled the timing to reporters. Originally, ...